The Redundancy Rollercoaster

bestis yetAt 22 years young, the one thing I never anticipated, happened to me. One Friday morning I was made redundant. I think it was amazing to  my colleague and me that I didn’t cry when told! Instead, I calmly left and proceeded to wander aimlessly, like a zombie, in disbelief wondering what the hell I was going to do. It’s funny, it’s the situation you think you’ll never find yourself in. It happens in movies, to other people, but me?!

After allowing myself one day to wallow in sadness and cry my eyes out, I decided to set to and find another job. For someone who has always worked since the age of 14, to be out of work with no income, mounting debt and bills, was pretty scary! One of the first things I did when I arrived back home was hit Google. I stumbled upon an article which really sums up the surreal Rollercoaster emotions of Redundancy. This blog post is my experience of it, how to deal with it, and how to bounce back!

Shock 

Initially, my first response wasn’t actually to cry. Instead, I was completely stunned. Fortunately, it didn’t come as a massive shock, (read my Redundancy Warning Signs – up soon!) due to a multitude of reasons; I had a hunch it would happen.

Anger

I was surprisingly furious with everyone… What did I do to deserve this? Why me? I was devastated. Did I deserve to be treated like this?! In fact, I was so angry that I often lashed out at the ones who love me the most, and were there for me when I was sad. I turned really ugly towards my parents, who have always had my back.

Depression

Right now, I’m alright. I’ve had a lot of time to relax, think and pursue what I want, and I’m happy. At the time, it was a completely different story. People offer kind words like ‘when one door closes, another opens,’ which is lovely. However, in no way does it compensate for how borderline depressing it is. Going back to the drawing board of applying for jobs, interviews and being rejected is no joke! I felt a complete failure, my confidence and outlook on life was rock bottom. I put on a brave face to friends and family, often laughing about the shitty situation. However, deep down, I was upset. I had many sleepless nights and cried an awful lot. Also, because I was in this state, I refused to socialise with friends which, with hindsight, was probably counter-productive. For days on end I would suddenly become so teary, so wobbly and, because I was so ashamed about the situation, I didn’t really speak to a lot of my friends about it. Sounds terribly selfish, but the last thing I wanted to hear was how amazing their jobs were when I no longer had one. It was an incredibly stressful time!

Relief

I mentioned my situation to friends, family and strangers too, and they have all been surprisingly encouraging. Some gave me hope that this could be a blessing in disguise, giving me the freedom to pursue what I really want, with the knowledge and experience that I have gained thus far. Others have offered their own experiences of redundancy, how they dealt with it, and, that sometimes it propels you into something better.

I will never forgot that feeling of hopelessness, being unemployed is a horrible predicament to find yourself in. I am a true believer in trusting the universe. Sometimes it takes extremes like this to re-evaluate your life, focus on what you want, what benefits, excites and challenges you, as that is what you should pursue. A quote from Em Sheldons‘ blog, “Rainy days make flowers” is scrawled on a post it note above my desk, which really helped motivate me. Things do work out for the best, and if it hasn’t yet, there’s still time.

Have you ever lost your job or been made redundant? How did you cope? Can you relate to my experience? Let me know what you thought of this post in the comments below.

Love Career Girl

xoxo

My Gym Gear Feat. Daisy&Co

 

Now that I drive, you can find me hitting the gym 4 times a week, whether it be a relaxing yoga and tai chi session or a high intensity boxing class! And now, more than ever, I seem to live in gym attire, so it’s massively important I have clothes which fit, are functional for sweaty sessions, and, of course, make me look and feel great!

Following on from my ‘dress to impress & dress for success’ post with work-wear, I strongly feel it is paramount to wear whatever makes you feel not only comfortable, but good about yourself too. How can you push yourself and achieve your personal best, if you’re wearing ill-fitting see through leggings and a sports bra that offers no support?!

If you can afford it, I highly recommend getting the best that’s out there, but if not, I highly recommend H&M gym wear. Considering the price, they are surprisingly good, offering sweat-wicking running tops for approx. £14!

I’m always keen to try new gym gear and, recently, was given the opportunity to test out Daisy & Co London‘s latest range. Their new active brand was launched earlier this year I believe. New to the game, they have black sportswear with their logo, and outrageously bright purple options too. They are incredibly high quality and are lovely and soft against the skin.

They arrived in the post and honestly, first impressions were that both items would be too big for me. I’m normally a size xs and these looked huge! However, I was wrong. After trying both on, I realised that the fabric was super soft and high stretch, perfect for sweaty hot yoga or even HIIT classes. The gorgeous detailing on the back of the black sports bra allows for extra movement, which isn’t always apparent in other brands. Often, most sports bras are rigid and thus, limits your movements. I tested these out last week and was really impressed by them!

The purple top isn’t something I would normally opt for, as I tend to go for blacks and greys at the gym, but they go really well with an all black outfit. They would be perfect for summer days, especially as I often do yoga outside when it’s warmer & sunnier!

What I’m wearing: 

Top: Daisy Pansy Print Keyhole Vest

Sports bra: Black Cross back

Leggings: Lululemon Athletic 

Trainers: Asics from Sweaty Betty

 

What brands do you wear to the gym? I hope you enjoyed this post & let me know what you think in the comments!

Love Career Girl

 

xo

 

PS items marked with * were gifted for promotional purposes yet opinions are definitely mine! 

 

 

Jamie Oliver’s Cooking School: Japanese Food

Massive thanks to Lauren, otherwise I wouldn’t have known this amazing place exists!

So last weekend I attended the fabulous Jamie Oliver Cooking School, at their Westfield Shepard bush venue. As a fan of the way Jamie Oliver cooks and from watching his programmes I was really intrigued to find out more about this experience.

Beforehand, the only thing I knew was that we were cooking Japanese food, although there are many other different exciting types of food to cook, from Italian to Mexican food!

On arrival we were greeted by the lovely staff members who offered us prosecco and a chance to relax. We were then instructed to wash our hands and put aprons on. I was really impressed by how everything was thought out. Our Chef for the day was a hilarious guy who really knew his stuff and made use feel right at home. We watched a few demos of how to make the dishes, were able to ask questions, receive guidance; and we were able to try a few of the ingredients, many of which I have never heard off, before using them in our cooking.

All the food and cooking prep was done before we arrived, all laid out and well organised, which made everything a whole lot easier.

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So what did we make? Well I think Jamie Oliver will be super impressed by our fab cooking skills! We managed to rustle up pork stuffed gyoza with a tasty toasted sesame seed sauce, miso soup, ponzu dipping sauce and a lovely, healthy chicken teriyaki stir fry with sticky, fragrant rice and vegetables.

The experience was wonderful, the food, staff and venue were excellent and would definitely recommend. I couldn’t fault it. The experience would make a perfect gift for someone who wants to try something different and for couples or a group of friends!

Find out more by heading to the website – which class would you pick?

Hope you enjoyed reading,

Love Career Girl xo

 

 

 

Dealing With Setbacks

setbacks
Guess who was the butt of jokes from both friends & family?! After multiple failed attempts, a hell of a lot of money spent, numerous tears shed and many setbacks, I have finally passed!

Why on earth did it take you so long?! Well, I wanted to focus on A levels and my degree, so postponed learning to drive until I was more settled, with fewer distractions. Summer 2015 I began my search for driving instructors and stumbled upon Darren’s* website. I was blown away by the incredible ratings, many of which were given by people I knew. Although expensive, I decided to go ahead as the reviews were so good. I mean, you get what you pay for, right? I was wrong.

The first Lesson

Of course, like many inexperienced learner drivers, I was awful! Like walking, it is paramount to learn the basics before you can run. My first lesson involved driving on national speed limit roads, with roundabouts etc. I was thrown in at the deep end, which isn’t ideal! That first lesson, many expletives were directed at me. I swerved, stalled, cried and nearly had numerous accidents. It didn’t really get much better after that.

Once, with tears streaming down my cheeks, blurry eyed, borderline hyperventilating, I raced at break neck speed up to a very busy roundabout. I managed to hesitate, then stall spectacularly, right in the middle of traffic, causing many cars to screech to an abrupt halt to miss hitting me. My rather po faced examiner was far from impressed!

Failure isn’t an option

Third time lucky? I wish. After driving so well I was certain I had passed, and overcome with emotion I managed to exceed the speed limit in the last minute and failed, of course…

I improved marginally but was told, repeatedly, just how fabulous a driver I was and how I should pass my test in no time. My poor dad also gave me lessons (which I don’t advise, purely because you can fall into bad habits, not adhering to ‘test’ conditions!) where I picked up conflicting information and methods of doing things, eg. parking! So, after a few months of appalling driving, I was rushed into a driving test which of course I failed MAGNIFICENTLY! The funny thing was, although I knew deep down I wasn’t ready and with parents concerned that I wasn’t up to standard, I didn’t think to cancel it. When you are repeatedly told how great a driver you are, you start to believe it!

Trust Your Gut

I had more driving tests, more failures, more shouting, swearing and conflicting advice from Darren, my driving instructor. Darren was bad tempered, rude, impatient and often made me cry. The perfect example really of how not to teach pupils. My driving lessons always started late. He was incredibly unreliable. On one test day, he turned up 30 mins late, cutting short my practise time beforehand. On another occasion I told him 2 months in advance I had found a test date, which he agreed to & gave me the appropriate lessons. Then, a week before, Darren states he’s double booked. Because of staff shortages and increased demand, I had to postpone my driving test for 3 months. Pissed off? Yeah. By this point I was more than test ready.

Perfect driver & rock bottom self-esteem

6 months later I was a perfectly good driver. However, much to my annoyance, nerves got the better of me, ensuring I made mistakes I would never normally make! Psychologically, I associated that test centre with negative thoughts of failure. I even contemplated hypnotherapy!

New driving instructor, different test centre & positive outlook!

I decided I needed a change pronto. Armed with a friend’s recommendation, I found a new driving instructor, Patrick* who was an absolute breath of fresh air! He retaught me a few things, instantly put me at ease, knew my confidence was rock bottom but quickly and effectively built it back up! I failed again in a different test centre due to nerves. I was in a state; I cried halfway through the test, but my driving was near perfect! A month later, I passed!

I was inspired to write my experience after reading oxjane – who failed 7 times. The thoughts and emotions she expressed, the sadness and the frustration really propelled me to carry on. It motivated me because, believe me… I was very close to giving up! Living where I live, transport links aren’t the best. The lack of freedom meant it was so much harder to organise socialising with friends, going to the gym and being spontaneous!

I hope you enjoyed reading this. I would love to hear your thoughts, experiences and advice in the comments below.

Love Career Girl!

xoxo

Dull hair to dazzling. Thanks Natural World!

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Dull, lifeless, lack lustre, split ends… my hair is basically anything but what I want it to be! I used to have gorgeous, shiny hair when I was much younger. Yet, as soon as I was a teenager, I discovered straighteners and ever since, my hair deteriorated.

My hair has a natural kink in it, so I straighten my hair daily and when I exercise or just need to power through a load of errands, I’ll tie my hair in a messy bun. Neither of which are particular good for your hair and so I was in serious need of some hair help!

I have tried a multitude of shampoos and am always on the look out for new, interesting hair products and so was over the moon to receive the Argan oil of Morocco Natural World range. These arrived a few weeks ago, beautifully wrapped and with simple but distinctive branding. This post is long over due but I wanted to give an honest opinion of the products! The past week I have been using the whole range (the hair oil I often forget! It’s not something I usually use!) and have been pleasantly surprised and satisfied with the product!

Honestly, considering the reasonable price of approx. £3.49, the products more than exceeded my expectations! I’m ashamed to say I often buy a brand that costs double the price! Would I buy & recommend this product? Yes!

My favourite products would have to be the shampoo/conditioner and the mask – my hair was beautifully shiny from just one wash, I was so amazed! The smell is not overly powerful, infused with Argan oil & essential oils including Rosemary,  Lemongrass, Orange & Ylang, which gently cleanse hair, adding moisture and a whole load of shine!

Packed with vitamin E, anti-oxidants and free from parabens, phosphates, dyes, gluten and 95% natural ingredients, these products really do what they say on the bottles!

Head to their website to explore their extensive range and for help choosing based on your hair dilemma! Have you tried them & what do you think? They are available in Tesco & on beauty and the bunch!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Love, as always, Career Girl

xoxo

PS the range was kindly gifted to me but all opinions are solely my own!

De-Stress:feat Katie Loxton

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So in the space of a month a lot of great life changing things have happened, a lot of swings and roundabouts, but I am finally more myself and much more zen now.

My sleep pattern has been awful recently and I haven’t been sleeping well. I need to get back into the groove and continue to attend Yoga and Pilates, learn to relax and take time out more. I would love to complete my goal of mastering the crow position!

However, I have found the benefits of having a routine and being organised, especially when wanting to feel less frazzled in the mornings!

The night before having a particularly busy or stressful day, it’s so important to have a good night’s sleep. Having a bath, lighting a candle, and a personal favourite of mine is putting lavender oil on my pillow; which helps me sleep quickly and deeply! I wake up feeling so refreshed.

Also, if I have late night projects to do then lighting a candle instead of using my big light helps reduce the strain on my eyes. And who doesn’t love a nice smelling candle, right?

This past week I can’t get enough of the gorgeous smell of this Katie Loxton ‘happiness’ candle, with subtle hints of sweet orange and mango. The candle comes in lovely white and gold packaging – simple and elegant. The feel good fragrance is blended with the highest quality soy wax and contains essential oils, each scent chosen specifically to enhance ones mood and well-being.

This is a completely new brand to me, I found the company hewson & nash via Twitter! Their website houses independent retailers who sell a range of products, from candles to clothes. It is definitely worth checking out; whether you want to pamper yourself or treat a colleague/friend!

The founders of the company have an incredible back story which you can read up on via their website. The aim is that you can support independent, local retailers, AND you can contribute to charity too, which is a fantastic combination!

I am so glad I found this website and I will no doubt be buying more Katie Loxton items!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Love Career Girl

xoxo

ps candle was given to me for promotional purposes but thoughts are mine!

 

Get Hired Via Email!

Email

I remember when I graduated and I have blogged about this multiple times before, but it is totally normal to find the process of job hunting online boring, frustrating, time-consuming and somewhat depressing! Our parents tended to job hunt in person yet, increasingly, new jobs are being advertised and processed online via online job applications. You may have to uploaded your CV and cover letter etc. and wonder why you hear nothing back…

Beat the Applicant Tracking System

Well it’s probably because no one sees it! That’s right, a computer sifts through all those hundreds, if not thousands of CV’s searching for specific keywords within your CV; and if you pass the ‘Applicant Tracking System’ process only then will a human – aka the HR department, actually read your CV!!

The thought process understandably is that one person cannot deal with the overwhelming surge in applications and so the computer system takes over, saving time. However, in my opinion, great, talented candidates are put off by such lengthy and inhuman processes, so will look and apply elsewhere.

Potentially, there are ways to beat the system so to speak. By inputting keywords into your CV in white (so they are picked up but not shown up) or even formatting your CV better, the list goes on. But is it worth it?

You may be the perfect candidate and incredibly talented but if you don’t specify specific keywords outlined in the job description, (& it’s pot luck to receive one) your CV won’t be selected!

Dream job is an Email away!

As the title of this blog post suggests, it is possible to bypass those pointless job applications that disappear into the abyss. Just use email! Believe it or not there are jobs out there that don’t require you to fill out pointless applications!

Even if there are no vacancies advertised at your dream company, it is always worth sending prospective emails with your CV attached. Start by introducing yourself, outlining your past and current situation, experience, why you should work at the company and what you can bring to the table, also know as ‘pain letters’. The worst thing they can do is ignore you, but you have a much better chance of being noticed with your CV being read and also are more likely to be considered for future roles too! Also, make sure to include contact details and a link to your LinkedIn profile in your signature!

I hope this helps!

Good luck!

Love Career Girl

xoxo